Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

11/8/2019
10:00 AM
Menny Barzilay
Menny Barzilay
Commentary
Connect Directly
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail vvv
50%
50%

9 Principles to Simplify Security

This isn't a one-size-fits-all situation. Simplify as much as you can, as the saying goes, but no more than that.

Complexity has become a significant issue. Enterprises suffer from overcomplicated cybersecurity environments that are underutilized, undermanaged, undermonitored, and laced with misconfigurations.

Complex environments cause a number of problems. They aren't cost-efficient, it is impossible to optimize them, they significantly lengthen the incident response process, and they act as a barrier for innovation, often turning small requirements for technical changes into large-scale projects.

While cybersecurity threats are constantly rising, security professionals are expected to achieve more with the same amount of resources. This means choosing simplicity over complexity, making cybersecurity environments easy to manage, control, change, and maintain.

Follow these nine principles to simplify your cybersecurity environment:

1. Automation
Automation is the key to the future of cybersecurity. Many companies have already implemented various automation products, such as security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) and breach and attack simulation (BAS). But automation is not a product, it's an approach. There are numerous activities that security teams can automate.

Action Items

  • Define "automation" as a strategic goal.
  • Ask each security team member for three ideas for tasks or processes that can be automated.
  • If possible, assemble an automation task force that will identify opportunities for process automation and simplification.

2. Utilization
Underutilization of security products is a global epidemic. Companies tend to purchase new solutions without realizing that they could have utilized existing ones.

Action Items

  • Make sure your team is familiar with your products to feel comfortable administrating them. (If they are not, the team will probably push to buy a new product instead of trying to utilize the current one.)
  • Ask your vendors to provide you with product training and inform you about new product features.
  • Learn from your peers about better ways to use the product.

3. Suites Over Individual Products
Companies should prioritize purchasing product suites over buying several separate point solutions, even if that means compromising, to some extent, on product quality.

Action Item

  • When possible, purchase suites instead of several separate solutions.

4. Managed Services
Depending on your specific situation, it might be highly preferable and cost-effective for you to use managed security services. Such services could shift some of the complexity to the service provider, allowing you to maintain a lighter technological environment.

Action Item

  • Consider managed services as an alternative for current solutions.

5. Overcome the Cross-Units Barrier
In most enterprises, it is almost impossible to implement and utilize a particular solution when more than one department wants to use it. In such cases, it is common for such projects to face issues such as "which unit is going to finance this?" and "who will get the credit?"

As an undesired consequence, in many cases, a relevant department will try to avoid such an issue either by implementing it without involving other potential stakeholders, or, worse, by passing on the product purchase altogether.

Action Items

  • Figure out if you can utilize solutions that are already implemented within the company.
  • Find out whether other departments can also benefit from your existing security products.
  • Overcome organizational barriers and look for cross-departmental solutions.

6. Cybersecurity Approach
A company's approach toward cybersecurity is influenced by many factors, such as organizational culture, risk appetite, the CISO's personal approach, and so on. Some approaches are much simpler to maintain compared with others. For example, a zero-trust strategy can save you a lot of time by creating a unified access methodology for employees, suppliers, and/or partners.

Action Item

  • Be smart about devising your strategy. Make sure it contains achievable goals.

7. Training and Knowledge Management
The more trained your security team is, the simpler it will be for team members to manage your security environment.

Action Item

  • Invest in workforce training!

8. Life-Cycle Management
When evaluating a new product, make sure to assess its entire life cycle. Sometimes, the product implementation seems straightforward, but then the organization discovers that the day-to-day operation of the product consumes an unacceptable amount of resources. This can happen for various reasons: The vendor issues critical patches frequently, the product's documentation is lacking, the vendor has a poor support mentality, etc.

Action Item

  • Evaluate the product's entire life cycle. Ask the vendor questions regarding product maintenance, patches, upgrade/update mechanism, documentation, etc.

9. Back to Basics
This is a hype-oriented industry. It's easy to get excited about the next-generation-AI-powered-autonomous-anomaly-detection-prevention-response-and-remediation-system with smart-integration and advanced-data-visualization that runs on dedicated-quantum-computing-chip. But it is imperative to remember that the basic security controls are still the most important ones: Patch management, permissions, network segmentation, USB restrictions, etc.

Action Item

  • Don't get swept away by new buzzwords. Make sure your foundations are strong.

As the quote often attributed to Einstein goes, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." Simplification should become a strategic goal for every security team. Nevertheless, it's not a one-size-fits-all situation. Simplify as much as you can, but no more than that.

Related Content:

 

Menny  Barzilay is a strategic adviser to leading enterprises worldwide as well as states and governments, and he also sits on the advisory boards of several startup companies. Menny is the CEO of Cytactic, a cybersecurity services company, and the founder of the ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 4/7/2020
The Coronavirus & Cybersecurity: 3 Areas of Exploitation
Robert R. Ackerman Jr., Founder & Managing Director, Allegis Capital,  4/7/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
Data breaches and regulations have forced organizations to pay closer attention to the security incident response function. However, security leaders may be overestimating their ability to detect and respond to security incidents. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-1627
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-08
A vulnerability in Juniper Networks Junos OS on vMX and MX150 devices may allow an attacker to cause a Denial of Service (DoS) by sending specific packets requiring special processing in microcode that the flow cache can't handle, causing the riot forwarding daemon to crash. By continuously sending ...
CVE-2020-1628
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-08
Juniper Networks Junos OS uses the 128.0.0.0/2 subnet for internal communications between the RE and PFEs. It was discovered that packets utilizing these IP addresses may egress an EX4300 switch, leaking configuration information such as heartbeats, kernel versions, etc. out to the Internet, leading...
CVE-2020-1629
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-08
A race condition vulnerability on Juniper Network Junos OS devices may cause the routing protocol daemon (RPD) process to crash and restart while processing a BGP NOTIFICATION message. This issue affects Juniper Networks Junos OS: 16.1 versions prior to 16.1R7-S6; 16.2 versions prior to 16.2R2-S11; ...
CVE-2020-1630
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Juniper Networks Junos OS devices configured with dual Routing Engines (RE), Virtual Chassis (VC) or high-availability cluster may allow a local authenticated low-privileged user with access to the shell to perform unauthorized configuration modification. This...
CVE-2020-1634
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-08
On High-End SRX Series devices, in specific configurations and when specific networking events or operator actions occur, an SPC receiving genuine multicast traffic may core. Subsequently, all FPCs in a chassis may reset causing a Denial of Service. This issue affects both IPv4 and IPv6. This issue ...